For the pasta frolla: Combine sugar, butter, egg, milk, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Fold in the flour but do not over mix; make sure that the mixture remains cool and does not become pasty. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes, or until firm.
For the Ricotta Filling: Place the ricotta in a large bowl stir in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla being careful not to over mix.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut off 1/2 of the pasta frolla and reserve. Roll 1/2 of the dough into a 14-inch disc and line a 9-inch cake pan with it. Allow the dough to hang over the edge of the pan. Roll out the reserved dough into a 10-inch circle. Reserve. Pour the ricotta filling into the crust base. Lay the reserved 10-inch circle of dough on the top of the filling. Trim the excess so there is a 1/2 to 3/4-inch overhang. Take the flap of dough left on the edge of the ring and roll it on itself so that it rests completely within the pan.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg with a pinch of salt and a few drops of water to make an egg wash. Brush the surface of the torta with the beaten egg mixture. Place the torta in the lower third of the oven and bake for about 45 minutes until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Recipe courtesy of North End Market Tours, Maria's Pastry Shop